July 16, 2021

Setting boundaries with in-laws, dealing with exes, and more!

Do you have questions about setting boundaries with your in-laws or dealing with an ex? We always wrap up our Life In Motion seasons with a Q&A episode. For this Q&A episode, we’re focusing on relationship questions.

Heather and Jamie answer your questions around setting boundaries with in-laws, mentoring relationships, and even being best friends with an ex. Check it out!

Can I still be friends with my ex-husband?

Short and sweet: For the sake of any children involved, we think you should definitely be civil and respectful of an ex-spouse.

Live peaceably with all people

You’ll read this a few times from us in this artcile, Romans 12:18 says, “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” So harbouring bad feelings or being intentionally hurtful toward your ex isn’t going to be beneficial to you or your kids. However, you also want to live at peace with any new potential partner or new spouse.

Set clear boundaries

Even if you don’t ever have to communicate them, you need to set boundaries for yourself and your ex.

For example, are you okay with them:
Seeing a movie with you and the kids?
Coming over for dinner?
Spending the night?
Going on vacation with you and the kids?

Determine your boundaries early, so you don’t end up in a spot that could hurt you or your kids. Use our episode on boundaries as a starting point.

Have a discussion with your spouse

If you remarried, you definitely want to include your spouse in the boundaries decision. You can use our episode on men and women friendships as a starting point for your conversation.

How do deal with a toxic in-law who wants a relationship with your newborn?

Short and Sweet: Setting a boundary with your in-laws is not something you should do alone. Have an open discussion with your spouse to determine what’s acceptable and unacceptable in this relationship. Then, ask your spouse to set the boundary with his/her parents.

Talk to your spouse

Ultimately, every boundary or communication need depends on your relationship and the issue you are having. But generally speaking, when it comes to your in-laws, boundaries may be most well-received when communicated by your spouse. That means you and your spouse need to be on the same page about what’s acceptable and unacceptable.

Be respectful

If you haven’t opened up to your spouse about how their parents’ behavior is affecting you, now is the time to do it. But be gentle. Remember this is their parent. Your love for your spouse ought to result in a level of respect and love for his/her parents. If you need some help in this area, check out our episode on dealing with toxic people.

Determine what you think and feel before talking to your spouse

Whether you’re nervous about the conversation or not, determining what you think and feel about the situation before trying to discuss it can be so beneficial. Write out some of your thoughts before having the conversation. Use our episode on boundaries as a starting point.

Build a bridge

Romans 12:18 says, “so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” At the end of the day, determine what you can do to live peacefully with your in-laws. Find ways to show love before they ever have to ask for it. Consider texting some photos of the baby to them every now and then. Even if they don’t deserve it, do your best to show them love.

What’s the benefit of a mentoring relationship, and how do I start one?

Short and Sweet: You don’t know what you don’t know so having someone who’s a little older with a little more life experience can help you navigate the challenges of life. Start by putting yourself in situations with people older than you. (Yes, that might mean going to a BINGO night!)

You don’t know what you don’t know

We all know you can learn from failure, but the failure doesn’t have to be your own. When you have a friendship with someone further along in life, you invite their wisdom and experience into your situations.

Don’t put too much pressure on the relationship

You know you don’t have to formally ask someone to be your mentor to learn from them. You also don’t have to have only one mentor relationship. You can have someone you look up to in your career, in the way they handle their marriage, how they handle friendships, etc.

Try starting the relationship with a simple question, “I like the way you do x. Would you be up for getting coffee some time to talk about how you do it?”

Go where they are

Once you’re out of school, a lot of people don’t find themselves surrounded by people further along in life than them. If you’re one of those people, consider going to where the older people are. That’s right, you might try out a BINGO night, go to a church service time where you know older people will be there, or show up at an event that’s not geared toward young adults.


My wife is about to have a baby; what boundaries should we set with our family?

Short and Sweet: Determine what you and your wife want your first few weeks/months as parents to look like, then communicate that to your family.

Determine what you want

Sit down with your spouse and determine what you and your wife are envisioning, hoping for when you bring the baby home? Is your hope that you can stay home and isolated for a week? Or are you expecting people in and out all day long? Determine what you think will be ideal for both of you. Then communicate it to your family.

Keep it flexible

Things might change! Especially if its your first child. In the conversation with your family, set up some boundaries and share your ideas ahead of time then express, “We’ve never done this before, so it’s all subject to change, but here’s what we’re thinking on the front end.” Ask your family to be patient with you because you’re new to this and you might scrap the whole plan and do it differently.

Give them grace but stick to your boundaries

They might have some ideas on how to make things a little smoother for you, and that’s awesome! If you’re comfortable, ask for their input in an area where you’re unsure. But, as the conversation wraps, make sure they walk away knowing what you expect. Remember, boundaries bring safety and freedom to everyone in the relationship.

If you need help determining your boundaries, check out our episode on boundaries.

Last Episode of Season 2

This is our last episode of Season 2. This season, Heather and Jamie put together 11 episodes focused on making and managing friendships/relationships. It’s been an awesome season and we can’t wait for Season 3.

Our Episodes:

  1. HELP! I don’t have any friends
  2. Why is it so hard to make friends
  3. I’ve got trust issues
  4. Toxic People and How to Deal
  5. Staying friends even when you disagree
  6. Boundaries don’t have to suck
  7. Breaking Up—Handling the end of a relationship
  8. Can men and women be “just friends”
  9. Why asking for help is so hard
  10. Shame: Why asking for help is so hard pt. 2
  11. Setting boundaries with in-laws, dealing with exes, and more


Listen to all of Season Two on Spotify and Apple Podcasts or watch our episodes on YouTube.

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